Welcome to the Camtree Digital Library

The Camtree Digital Library publishes peer-reviewed research reports produced by educators from around the world. Library content is freely available to all readers.

Camtree supports educators to reflect on their practice and conduct research to improve learning in their own contexts and organisations, through its website at https://www.camtree.org. Camtree is based at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge.

Recent Submissions

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    Empowering early learner teacher teams to develop handwriting skills using a digital writing device
    (Camtree: the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange, 2023) Gaffney, Claire
    Background and purpose: The focus of this research was in the areas of early learner handwriting skills and teacher empowerment, specifically how digital writing devices impact the development of handwriting skills. Aims: Such a study was important as digitisation of classrooms is prevalent, thus necessitating an investigation to explore if digital writing devices produce the same level of development as traditional methods of pencil on paper amongst early learners aged 3 to 6 years old in Bahrain. Design or methodology: The mixed methods methodology approach adopted in this study included, for the first time in Bahrain, a comparative analysis study of thirty students aged 3 to 6 years, registered at a private institute, over a six-week period, as well as interviews with experts and local teachers. The institute’s teachers and families were also surveyed for their perspectives. Findings: The findings from this research provided unique evidence that early learner students using digital writing devices while learning to write, had significantly poorer outcomes. The main conclusions drawn from this study are that early learner handwriting lessons should be a digital-free zone and young students should not be introduced to digital writing until handwriting skills are competently developed. Conclusions, originality, value and implications: This dissertation recommended using the results of this survey to empower teachers to guide and offer the best option to families for their children. Further recommendations are for educational leaders to increase in-school opportunities to develop graphomotor skills and to include digital writing device familiarisation sessions for young students and parents. Future studies in this area can be carried out by schools and institutes, they should be longitudinal, include greater student numbers and narrow the age parameters in order to validate this research’s findings.
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    The irreducible learning core in mathematics, with a focus on overcoming barriers in number
    (Lesson Study UK and Camtree: the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange, 2013) St Aloysius Catholic Junior School Lesson Study Group,
    Background: The school is located in urban area of high deprivation. Teaching staff had noticed that a lack of understanding of number facts and place value was making it difficult for children to grasp more challenging mathematical concepts and tackle mathematical problems. Year 4 teachers undertook a lesson study to address this. Aims: The aims of the lesson study where to improve teaching and learning of number bonds, number facts and place value, particularly partitioning; and also to evaluate the lesson study approach more generally. Methods: The lesson study sequence involved introducing a range of new approaches to reinforcing number facts and carrying out partitioning including games, puzzles and problems. Resources such as Base 10 resources, hundred squares, counters were introduced into the classroom to give pupils opportunities to play with the practical resources and revisit prior learning. The teacher modelled these approaches and encouraged children to talk about the strategies they were using, to work in pairs and use key mathematical vocabulary as part of their oral reasoning. Findings: The first lesson in the sequence highlighted the insecurity in many pupils’ knowledge of number facts and relationships so activities were included to support them with these along with alternative approaches. Reintroducing practical resources into a Year 4 classroom allowed children to revisit prior learning and address areas of weakness. Children were motivated by the new approaches and were keen to use them to solve problems; they were also able to use new vocabulary and in the course of the lesson sequence they became more willing and able to explain to teachers, partners and the class how they had solved problems. Children were also able to identify where their knowledge was not secure and this was a barrier to their progression. Implications: This more open, practical approach to the teaching of maths, supported by the reintroduction practical resources alongside games, puzzles and open-ended problems has been very effective and motivating. Pupils benefited greatly from an opportunity to share, explain and discuss their understanding with their peers and the role of discussion will be the focus of further inquiries. We have also decided to introduce lesson study throughout the school. We have found that it provides an opportunity for teachers to observe closely a target group of pupils’ learning. This has already enhanced our understanding of how children learn, how they perceive us as teachers and what they do and don’t expect us to do.
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    A study into how children can effectively use models and images to help understand place value
    (Lesson Study UK and Camtree: the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange, 2013) St Aloysius’ Catholic Infant School Lesson Study Group,
    Background: The setting is an urban infant school in an area of higher-than average deprivation. The overall focus of the school’s lesson study pilot was to look into ways of developing models and images to effectively develop our Year 2 children’s basic understanding of place value. Aims: The main aim of the study was to improve pupils' understanding of how to use Dienes' apparatus to partition 2-digit and 3-digit numbers, and to use this understanding to aid in their learning and understanding of addition and subtraction strategies. Methods: A lesson study approach was used to teach pupils how to use Dienes' apparatus to partition 2-digit and 3-digit numbers. Close observation of case pupils informed changes in approach in lessons 2 and 3 of the sequence. Specifically, the role and purpose of Diene’s apparatus was made very explicit and their use was modelled by the teacher and in whole-class activities. Findings: The lesson study helped teachers understand the importance of pacing and matching work to students' current understanding. Teachers had assumed too much about children’s understanding and had focused on the visual and concrete elements of the Diene’s apparatus instead of the abstract thinking behind the structure of the blocks. Once the children were more secure in their use of Dienes' apparatus, this aided their understanding of partitioning 2-digit and 3-digit numbers, which will impact future learning and aid in addition and subtraction. Implications: Future teaching will focus on allowing sufficient time for concept development, explaining resources, and tracking individual progress. Outcomes will be shared with other staff and lesson study will be used to improve teaching across the curriculum.
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    The irreducible learning core in mathematics, with a focus on the role of place value in calculation
    (Lesson Study UK and Camtree: the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange, 2013) Carlton School Lesson Study Group,
    Background: Carlton Primary School serves a diverse population: 75% of pupils do not have English as a first language. Approximately 35% of pupils are on the SEND register. Several groups of pupils had been identified as underperforming in mathematics. Aims: Our main aim was to Year 3 pupils’ understanding and misconceptions around place value – part of the irreducible core of foundational concepts in maths. Children with difficulties in understanding place value find it difficult to make progress in other areas of mathematics particularly calculation. Methods: Lesson study was used, with three case pupils selected. Close observation allowed us to identify misconceptions and difficulties with place value and in manipulating numbers and to explore the impact on learning of various models and images, to help children to become more competent in calculating. Discussion and analysis after each lesson provided essential insights and informed planning of subsequent learning activities. Findings: Through the lesson study process and close observation of case pupils, we found some startling gaps in some children’s understanding of place value which was impacting on their ability to perform calculations, and therefore limiting their progress. We identified children whose progress may suffer as a result of these misconceptions and developed action points to address this. Targeting support in this way through ‘precision teaching’ helped improve learning outcomes for these pupils. Implications: Lesson study was very effective, and the opportunity to make close and focussed observations of case pupils provided valuable insights into their learning. The importance of under standing individual learners’ misconceptions and difficulties raises the question of how best to gain these insights across a whole class. We have made changes to the planning and teaching in Year 2 to ensure that children assessed as ‘secure’ at Level 2 do not in fact have gaps such as those highlighted in this study, and have introduced a programme of precision teaching by the Mathematics subject leader to selected Year 3 pupils so that they will progress quickly to Level 3.
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    Language development in mathematics
    (Lesson Study UK and Camtree: the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange, 2013) Beckford Lesson Study Group,
    Background: An issue across the school, which serves a diverse community, was improving the progress of EAL children in school. Children appeared to understand the mathematics they were being taught during lessons, but when tested they were working below the standards expected. Their difficulties with language were often identified as a key barrier to learning and progress in mathematics. Aim: Through lesson study, we wanted to explore how language in mathematics could be developed to support greater understanding and progress in learning. We have been monitoring the impact and use of sentence frames, greater opportunities for talk, and the links between oral, visual and contextualised understanding. Methods: We developed a sequence of research lessons focusing on three case pupils. We introduced and modelled the activities. We provided example key learning facts related to odd and even numbers and a range of visual and practical aids. Additional framing devices were provided in subsequent lessons, and we sought and observed the children’s explanations, encouraging paired talk. Findings: Children showed both persistence and resilience in being able to do more of the activity independently as the lessons progressed. They have shown greater confidence in sharing ideas and developing and supporting their own and other’s learning. Most children were able to use the prompt: “I know...because...” to discuss their reasons and answers with adults and with their peers. Some EAL children still needed help to be clear about what a written question is asking for and to decide what they needed to do to answer it. Implications: The lesson study sequence highlighted the importance of giving children much greater opportunity for mathematics talk, and how that talk is most rich when it is supported with multiple representations for children to use and refer to in the lesson including practical resources and equipment, and mathematics pictures and models. Lesson study has provided insights into children’s misconceptions, strategies and learning, and has suggested alternative and additional activities to support them.

Communities in Camtree Digital Library

Select a community to browse its collections.

Now showing 1 - 5 of 8
  • Camden Learning
    Camden Learning is a partnership between Camden Schools and Camden Council. It brings education practitioners together, to share expertise, drive improvement and achieve excellent practice.
  • Camtree Main Community
    Camtree is the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange. This community contains reports of close-to-practice research submitted to Camtree by teacher-researchers who are not associated with a Camtree partner or domain
  • Haileybury
    Haileybury's library of action based research to promote high quality teaching and learning.
  • Lesson Study UK
    Lesson Study UK shares resource and knowledge about Lesson Study across the Uk and supports educators carrying out Lesson Study in their own educational settings.
  • Liverpool John Moores University School of Education
    Teacher research reports from Liverpool John Moores University School of Education and its international partners